Wayne Hemingway Arnold has had a long record of community service as well as being a successful businessman who now wants to bring those experiences to the Broward County Commission.
By Charles Moseley
Back in 1971, when Wayne Hemingway Arnold built his home in Southwest Broward on an acre of land, “there was nothing but orange groves out here,” said the 76-year-old candidate running for the District 5 Broward County Commission seat. Now his Davie neighborhood has grown considerably with an interesting mix of moderate homes, multi-million dollar estate properties, and a trailer park community; all representing a diverse population along the income spectrum, among local residents.
Arnold grew up in humble beginnings in northern Florida where he and his family lived in Tallahassee. As a young boy he aspired at one time to become a farmer but as fate would have it, his life took on a different path.
“As a young boy we were poor but we were happy. I always thought I would be a farmer like some of my relatives. In fact, in elementary school I was a member of Future Farmers of America. But I had other dreams as a young boy walking through those woods and cow paths of North Florida that someday I could make at least $12,000 a year,” said Arnold.
The self-made entrepreneur spent most of his adult life in the restaurant industry beginning as a short order cook and working his way up through corporate management, to owning seven Arnold’s Royal Castle Restaurants in South Florida at one time and two Arnold’s Fried Chicken Restaurants in northern Florida.
“For 52 years I have been associated with the restaurant business. Most of those years Royal Castle Systems, Inc. was very much a part of my business work years. GOD helped me through many tough times and opened doors of opportunity. Now in my late 70s, I realize there is much more to living then making money. I think back now when I was a young boy planting my own pole beans and mustard greens and walking the woods and cow paths of North Florida not realizing what the future holds. I really didn’t know we were poor. I just knew we were happy and dreaming of things yet to come. And, in 1953 we moved to South Florida.
“I’ve had a love affair with our county and South Florida in general. But there is much that has been left undone. We must right the wrongs that exist even in these modern times. Broward County has to take many steps forward to bring real jobs and real opportunities to the poorest among us. That is why Wayne ‘Hemingway’ Arnold will never take money from ‘special interest’.
“Well today we have been so blessed and my net worth has put me in the bracket of paying $77,000 a year in my 2015 in-come taxes,” he added.
The self-described “former hippie from the ‘60s, named several former Florida elected officials as having an impact on his political views which helped shape his interest in government and politics. Two of those politicians which he admired included Congressman Claude Pepper and former Florida Governor LeRoy Collins.
“Meeting and campaigning for people of the stature like Senator Claude Pepper who worked so hard for our Senior Citizens and those with disabilities.”
“He was always a leader in the fight for Social Security and minimum wages. As a young 18-year-old lad I got to know Senator and Mildred Pepper and they asked me to help with young people in his campaign. He was not successful in his effort to return to the United States Senate but I’ve always considered him to be a dedicated public servant who was not interested in securing wealth for himself or his family.”
“I first met Governor LeRoy Collins in Tallahassee where we lived until 1953. He was a young outstanding Florida senator who possessed great courage and wisdom that helped him lead Florida in a new positive direction of race relations. He was the first governor in the South who proclaimed in his soft voice that prohibiting Blacks from eating at lunch counters was morally wrong.”
Arnold shared some of his views during a recent interview with the Westside Gazette Newspaper.
Westside Gazette (WG): Mr. Arnold share a little bit about your community involvement?
“As a seventh generation Floridian it is a great honor to have served over the years on so many town boards & committees. I still remain one of the Parks & Recreation and Open Space Advisory Board members. I have served on the Town of Davie following years. Site Planning Board, the Water Advisory Board, the Charter Review Board, the Economic Steering Committee, the Community Redevelopment Agency and the Community Relations Board (CRA), Former President of the South Broward Democratic Club.
W.G.: Why did you decide to seek public office?
“Friends who know my commitment and desire to be a part of public service encouraged me to be a candidate for Broward County Commission District 5. Therefore I decided to throw my hat into the ring. I would only be a candidate if I could self-fund my campaign so that I could be free of “special interest” monies. And, that is what I have done. When elected I promise to represent the folks in my District 5 and all of Broward County. “
W.G. What makes you feel you are the best candidate for the job of County Commissioner?
“I’ve had a successful business all of my adult life. I learned how to make a payroll. I am not a life time politician. I made decisions based on short and long term goals. I’m only obligated to the voters and residents of our county….not “special interest”.
W.G. What do you think are the biggest issues facing Broward County and how do you plan to address those issues?
“I believe, public safety, real jobs that offer more than a bare week to week existence. A major revamping in education opportunities both technical and scientific. No increase in sales tax. Hopefully the public wont buy this turkey. Sales tax is regressive and hurts the folks who can least afford i.e. need to be proactive in services for the elderly and handicapped. And finally I think we need the reinstatement of convicted felons’ rights. As it exists in Florida today, every day of a felon’s life is ruined. Broward should endorse this measure and bring it to the voters of Florida for action.”
W .G.: What are your views regarding the Democratic and Republican nominees for president of the United States?
“I oppose Donald Trump. I will vote for the Democratic Nominee Secretary Clinton.”